Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Take Back the Words!

I was just checking the final copyedits of my book which is appearing in the spring, which includes a scene where zookeepers are chasing a raccoon around a Dumpster. That's right, Dumpster, capitalized, because it turns out, this word is a trademark.

Well, three pages of a novel that include the word Dumpster, capitalized, multiple times, reads like advertising copy for the Dumpster Corporation, so I wanted to replace it. But there is no synonym. I got suggestions from many people. They were either circumlocutions that couldn't replace one word repeatedly, or technical descriptions that no one would recognize, or words for a thing that was similar to a Dumpster but not identical.

I also discovered that many words that we all feel are normal English words are also still trademarked, like Laundromat and Bubble Wrap. Bubble Wrap!!!

Well, I've had enough. I want to start a Movement. Why are corporations allowed to interfere with the natural evolution of language? The way it works now, you can get in trouble if you use a trademark generically - but why does a corporation get to decide how we can use the language? If everyone else, as English speakers, needs the word, why does a corporation get to keep it?

Poppers of bubble wrap in dumpsters out behind laundromats, unite! You have nothing to lose but your superfluous capital letters!

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